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Can I Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits if I’m Attacked by a Co-Worker?

Oct 16, 2020 - Workers' Compensation/Work Injury by

Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Tuscaloosa, AL

Workers’ compensation claims are often associated with equipment-related accidents on a job site — for example, a warehouse worker getting injured by falling storage boxes, or a lab worker getting burned by loose chemicals.

In truth, however, many injuries occurring in the workplace are linked to job site violence.

If you’ve been injured due to having been willfully assaulted by a colleague, contractor, or other individuals in the workplace, then you may be entitled to submit a workers’ compensation claim for benefits to cover those losses.

Let’s take a closer look.

Assault is Covered, But Only If There Is an Employment-Related Cause

In Alabama, an intentional assault by a co-worker (or anyone else, in fact) is considered an accident for the purpose of workers’ compensation coverage, so long as the assault was motivated by an employment-related issue, and not personal ill will.

How does this work?

Suppose that you are attacked by a co-worker, who fractures your nose and ribs.

In Example A, the co-worker attacked you because he was under the impression that you had insulted his family.  This would not give rise to workers’ compensation benefits, as the attack was motivated by a personal issue — not an employment-related one.

In Example B, however, the co-worker attacked you because he was upset that you had signed up for extra shifts, thus taking up some slots that he would’ve signed up for to earn extra pocket money.  The co-worker’s attack could be linked to an employment-related matter (shift signups), and therefore would come under workers’ compensation coverage.

Pursuing a Lawsuit Against the Assaulting Individual

In the event that you are willfully injured by another person in the workplace, then you may not only be entitled to submit a workers’ compensation claim for benefits (with your employer’s insurance), but you may also have a right to sue and recover in a lawsuit against the assaulting individual.

Suing the attacker is an excellent way to ensure that you recover for “all” your damages — as unlike workers’ compensation benefits, a lawsuit recovery can cover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.  For this reason, it’s important to strategically evaluate all your options at an early stage in the dispute.

Contact Our Tuscaloosa Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Help

Cross & Smith is a personal injury firm based out of Tuscaloosa, AL, with decades of experience representing plaintiffs in a range of disputes, including those that involve workers’ compensation claims.

We are committed to guiding our clients through every phase of a dispute, helping them navigate challenges while prioritizing their unique needs, goals, and concerns.  This client-centered approach has been very successful over the years, enabling us to secure significant results.

If you’d like to speak to an experienced Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation attorney at Cross & Smith, we encourage you to call 877-791-0618 or send us a message online to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

Hear What Our Clients Have To Say

"After my husband was injured in a burn accident at work, we felt the accident could have been avoided. I was not sure where to start, but after careful research, we met with Justin Smith and shared our experience. From day one, we felt we were in good hands. Justin and Dell explained everything and kept us informed from start to finish. It was a complicated case that took an outside the box approach. Both Justin and Dell made us feel like part of the team."
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